Reflecting on Multiple Intelligences: Choice or Chance?

4 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2010

See all articles by Alexander Horniman

Alexander Horniman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


Thanks to the work of Howard Gardner, the notion of multiple intelligences is better understood. Instead of thinking primarily of IQ, the other intelligences have been well articulated and given greater status in contemporary thinking. These intelligences all are reflected by activities within our structures. The more we are aware of and to some extent understand these multiple intelligences, the more choices we have. Because we behave consistent with our structures, we also behave consistent with those intelligences within our structures. Intelligences can be modified.



November 27, 2009

Reflections on Multiple Intelligences:

Choice or Chance?

Much of our behavior is significantly influenced—if not determined—by our habits of believing, or all the beliefs in our minds. There is a widely held view that habits account for close to 90% of our behaviors. How we move our bodies, listen, and speak—often called our external behaviors—are, for the most part, habitual. These external behaviors, when combined with our internal thinking, feeling, and believing, can be thought of as a total behavior model. Unless we are quite mindful and intentional, our habits are liable to be in charge of each of us. The oft used phrase “we are creatures of habit” can be restated to reflect an interesting issue: We are the “creat-ures” of the thousand individual habits we created. These habits are inextricably intertwined with our multiple intelligences. The more we understand this interrelationship and the power of habits, the more we enhance our choice abilities. In one sense, our intelligences become neurologically embedded habits. If left unexamined and unchallenged, these intelligence habits determine who we are and what we are for life.

For many years the only intelligence that was considered important was a person's intelligence quotient, or IQ. Led by Howard Gardner's ideas, however, the insights into multiple intelligences have exploded. This brief note will comment on the other four intelligence quotients: emotional intelligence (or “EQ”), social intelligence (or “SQ”), strategic intelligence (or “SIQ”), and ethical/moral intelligence (or “E/MQ”). Each of these intelligence domains is capable of development and directly affects how people lead—either by choice or by habit.

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Keywords: multiple intelligences, habits, choices, options, choice and development

Suggested Citation

Horniman, Alexander, Reflecting on Multiple Intelligences: Choice or Chance?. Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0995, Available at SSRN:

Alexander Horniman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


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